To wrap up our Varsity interview, James Moseley caught up with this years Varsity officer, and next years Vice President of Sport, Stephen Gore to get his thoughts on the day what it will hold.
What does your role of varsity officer involve, beforehand and on the day?
In terms of my specific duties, I sit in on Varsity organisational meetings from November onwards. In these meetings, we plan various aspects of the event including t-shirt designs, budget, merchandise, travel, and the all-important after party. We try to accommodate as many clubs’ fixtures as possible so that we can maximise participation on the day. On the day I’ll be manning the results desk along with the rest of the AUC and floating around to increase publicity with snapchat and live tweets.
Follow up: Are you competing yourself at all, if so, when, for who, and how do you think your team will do?
I am indeed! I’m playing for the basketball men’s 1st team in St. Paul’s, bright and early at 9am. Last year the 1st team secured a commanding victory, but it wasn’t without struggle in an incredibly physical game. Portsmouth 1sts are very athletic and during the game one of our players had his ankles broken (that’s a basketball term, they weren’t actually broken) at the half court and another player was viciously dunked on by a Portsmouth player who jumped from standing. In 2015 we eked out a 44-42 victory that ended with Portsmouth narrowly missing a long 3 point shot, in a similar style to the stunning last second buzzer beater from the halfway line that happened in 2014 to win the game – luckily we made our shot (see below, warning, not the cleanest language)! The game is always one to watch, and we’ve got a great atmosphere this year (about 60 players and spectators) so I’m really looking forward to it.
How the fact has that it is in Portsmouth this year affected organisation and do you think it will affect the athletes’ preparation for the day?
It hasn’t been without its difficulties, we have had to rely on Portsmouth to organise all of the fixtures and running of the event and they haven’t been as pro-active as we would have liked, but presumably they have been quite busy with the organisation of the day. Our athletes are at a disadvantage somewhat because we have to travel for half an hour before getting to our fixtures and Portsmouth will be more rested, but hopefully we’ll come out on top on the day.
Which matches/events would you say are a must see?
Football and rugby 1sts are the traditional “must see” games that are billed as the headliners for the day, but aside from these games I would really suggest people try to see as many new sports as they can. Games like dodgeball and volleyball (and of course, basketball) are generally under-rated but they can be quite intense and make for a great atmosphere!
For someone who has never experienced varsity before, what advice would you give to them about getting the most out of the day?
Going back to my last answer, try to watch as many different sports as you can! You don’t have to stay for the whole fixture but you might see something you like, they could use the support and really close games are always nerve-racking and exciting.
Are there any teams/athletes that we should keep an eye on?
Any intramural fixture. The skills aren’t always as honed as in BUCS 1st team fixtures, but they play with a lot of heart and some of the freshers in the teams will go on to do great things for the Athletic Union in the future.
Overall prediction for the day?
Southampton will have at least three times Portsmouth’s score.